A Comparison of the Functionalist View with the Marxist View Essay

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A Comparison of the Functionalist View with the Marxist View

Sociologists may disagree in their interpretation of how society works. Some have focused on what keeps society together; others have focused on what divides society. Over the years the two major paradigms have dominated sociology these are functionalism and the conflict theory better know as Marxism. Both the Marxism view and the functionalist view have their own totally different point of view.

Haralambos points out that ‘although functionalists emphasize the importance of value in society they do recognize that conflict can occur”. However functionalists consider such conflict as being the result of temporary disturbances in the
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They believe that a social system is a functional unity whereby all the parts of the system work together. ‘Co-ordination and co-operation’.

On the contrary Marxism could not be more strongly marked. Marxism stresses that the motive force for society and social change is conflict. Marx stresses that the links which bind sectors of society are economic and linked to the modes of production. Social conflict is created by the differing interests of competing social groupings, known as classes. A writer in the Marxist tradition would emphasize that the links between groupings within society are very weak and marked by very diverse interests of each particular group. Marxists argue that the functionalist view is an illusion- to think of modern society as one which is in a continuous state of harmony. On the contrary, every society is characterized by continuous conflict. There exists a struggle between the various groups and classes of society. The struggle for power, prestigue and economics goods gives rise to competition between the various sectors of society. Therefore, what we consider as society is the outcome of this continuous social conflict.

Functionalists as opposed to Marxists dispute that social equilibrium is achieved, most importantly, through the socialization of members of the society into the basic values
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